Wednesday, December 2, 2015

how to fix free motion blahs

I am doing some intense quilting on a quilt with busy fabrics... first of all, what a waste of time!  Why don't I just do something simple since nothing shows up on this fabric anyway.  But it's for a friend, and she wanted something wowie on her top.  She did give me carte blanche with this (you're going to wonder about that soon!)

so here is part of the quilt.  All that work and it's just blah....  So what to do?  

What if I put in a tight tight scribble fill around  those star points instead of a looser fill.  It really popped that star after I filled it in.  of course, it took a while...

And whoops, I did a ton of "Nemeshing" around this flower.  Can't see it?  neither can I!  I could see it fine while I was quilting it and looking closely.  Oh will I never learn??  So what to do?

How about a little tsukineko paint dabbed onto the feathers with a fantastik?  I think it worked perfectly.  But you see why I needed to have carte blanche - to do whatever I wanted.  Can you believe I painted on a friend's quilt?  Me neither?  It had to be done though :)

In my defense, this was a quilt top that she had for many years and never got around to quilting it herself.  She said to "work my magic" on it.  Hope she doesn't regret that!

I have a finish too!  

This is a dupioni silk quilt top that my friend had embroidered.  It too, sat around in a closet for years.  I am going to surprise her with this finished quilt at our Christmas party.  (It may not be a surprise if she sees this...)  

FYI, I quilted in the red with a pink metallic thread.  It quilted beautifully one day, but the next day it tangled and broke and snarled, arggg!  I changed needles, even tried a different sewing machine, fiddled around forever to no avail.  Then I looked out the window and realized that the weather had changed dramatically.  A front came in and I had the heater on, when the day before we actually had the AC on.  So I got out my Sewer's Aid silicone lubricant and smeared it on the thread spool.  Wow, I finished the quilting without anymore trouble.  I bet I will remember that trick next time, I hope you will too!  Later, Karen

 "Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don't have a sense of humor it just isn't funny anymore." - Wavy Gravy

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving blessings

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am taking a break.... turkey is in the oven and the other dishes are ready to go in when the turkey is done.  Pies are all waiting to be eaten, we have as many pies as we do people at this feast!!  Yum...  

I wanted to share my small town fame.  14 of my quilts are hanging in the hallways at the San Marcos, TX Chamber of Commerce for a few weeks.  Here is the newspaper article:

So if you're in the lovely town of San Marcos this month (maybe hitting the outlet malls), maybe you will get a chance to come see these.  

Have a lovely day, Karen

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Christina finished!

This quilt is from a photo that has been in my family for years - since 1917 actually.  This is my grandmother Christina Joly Comiskey when she was 16.  I finished it (well mostly, there's a little more quilting to do) last night.  It debuted at my guild meeting this morning and was well-received.  Thanks ladies...

I am going to call it "Christina".  It is very closely quilted around the face, body and even the wood on the furniture.  I used gray organza to make the mirror shimmer.  I cut out pieces of organza to fit in the mirror frames and stitched them down.  This piece also has a light brown tulle overlay on the whole piece (inside the frame).  

Looking at this photo, I can see a bit of her reflected hair that could use a little more quilting, sigh.  I quilted this on my little bernina 153, no regulator.  Wanna see my setup?

The machine is inset in a gidget table (very stable yet portable table) and surrounded by conference tables.  If I shut that closet door, I can quilt even bigger quilts without it falling off the table.  This little sewing machine is THE BOMB.  Mix and match threads and it just keeps on sewing with perfect stitches.  

I do have a few little tips.  I use a single hole stitch plate and a Little Genie Bobbin washer - no mess on the back or backlashing or thread vomit (Hollis Chatelain's term for the mess on the back).  

16 or so of  my quilts are going to be featured at the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce from Nov. 17, 2015 until January 20th, 2016.  Stop by and see them if you are in the area.  I will post photos when I go to hang them on Monday.  

Next project?  nancy's huge metro wedding ring....  Gotta get on this one, may take a while.  

Isn't it beautiful?  96 x 104", aye yi yi!  

Happy quilting ya'll, Karen

Sunday, October 25, 2015

another portrait started

I have this family photo of my grandmother when she was a young girl. Very blurry, but I am hoping it can be translated into fabric.   

Look how long her hair was!  It was always shoulder length when I knew her.  Her name was Christina Joly Comiskey and she had 10 children which she raised alone after her husband died of a heart attack while there were still 7 children at home.  I loved her dearly and am feeling her peaceful presence while I work on this piece.

I started with her face, hair and arm...  ooh getting excited...

Put the whole thing on a muslin base...

This is how far I got today.  Going to work on her image in the mirror tomorrow, can't wait!

I finished this project this weekend in between portrait playtimes.  I painted this in April at Hollis Chatelain's class at Asilomar.  I played with some zentangle designs for the quilting and tried out some new fillers.  Glad to have this done - no clue what to do with it though :)

Going to Houston on Thursday to the International Quilt Festival.  Maybe I'll see you there!  Karen

Monday, October 12, 2015

shams for double wedding ring quilt

I did finish something this week.  My cousin asked me to make her some shams to go with the quilt I made her last year.

I didn't do such a great job getting photos.  My cousin sent this one to me after the fact.  Guess it was such a relief to finish, I plain forgot to get pics.  

thank goodness I had a couple of blocks (bits and pieces of blocks, anyway) leftover.  I made two of these shams.  

You can almost see the quilting here, it's the same design used in her quilt.  It's from a stencil made just for DWRs.  

Another finish,  this strange little project is from a workshop that I took with Hollis Chatelain last spring at Asilomar, Empty Spools.  It started with a cute photo that my bro-in-law took at his local pool with his underwater camera.  He played with the original on photoshop a little, so this is what I had to work with. Isn't she cute?

So, in Hollis' class, we learned to make and use her paints, how to paint strokes, etc... and then how to quilt the finished project.  

Needless to say, my painting skills are pretty sad.  And the paints were kinda hard to come by.  It took a long time to prepare the dye paints, so when you ran out, you had to find someone who had some of that color left over.  I guess that's why her face is cantaloupe and her chest and arms are hot pink.  oh well, it was a learning project.   It's about 15  by 18 inches.  Hard to tell in this photo.  It's still kinda cute and I always wanted to do something with that picture.  It reminds me of my daughter, even though it's not her.  I could always find my daughter at the pool, because even when she was 4 and 5, she always had her goggles on!  (None of the other little girls that age wore goggles)

Those are bubbles on her chin and in her nostrils.  Might need a little paint or something to look a little more like a bubble.  I trapuntoed them and everything.... sigh 

on the last portrait quilt I made, the quilting was so dense that it made the quilt too stiff.  So on this one, I thread sketched it...  I put some of that wash-away applique paper under it and went to town with the quilting on her hair, face, flesh, and swimsuit... everywhere but the background water.   I even stitched the word Speedo :)

Then I basted the whole thing with blue tulle on top and a thin cotton batting. My plan was to quilt the water swirls all over her face and everywhere.  Ooh, bad idea though.  I ripped it off of her face and just quilted her features and then gave the water some ripples and bubbles.  She just needs a binding or facing and I can move on to another project. There are many to choose from.

Oh yes, update on the auction.  I did not win the bid on my wholecloth quilt, shoot!  But I got another lovely quilt in the auction.  Well, I was talking to the gal that bought "my" quilt, and she really wanted the quilt that I got.  She has a shop and it would make a great sample for her pattern and fabric line.  I suggested we make a deal as we got the quilts for the same price, isn't life weird.  maybe she will let me take the wholecloth to my trunk shows and workshops, and I will let her hang the one I got in her shop for a while.  It was a good auction with lots of pretty quilts and supplies.    I got this quilt at the boutique for $25... (after I bargained at the end of the show)

I loooove this... hand appliqued and hand quilted and loved on so much.  There are a couple of tears and some brown stains.  But who cares when it looks like this on my stand, right?

A little motherly bragging now.. My son just completed his hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, from the border of Mexico all the way to Canada.  He left last April and has been keeping this amazing blog along the way (using only his phone, no less).  Take a peek at the mountains in Washington... wowzers...  Ken Lambdin's Walkabout

He likes that quote thing too... but I was first:)

Happy quilting, Karen

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Wholecloth feather wreaths

Today I thought I would write about this little wholecloth quilt.  I started out with a 36 x 36 inch piece of white Kona cotton divided into fourths with a circle drawn in each quadrant.  That was the basis for the feather wreaths.  This was a project suggested by one of my students in a 5 month free motion quilting class that I taught.   

We learned several different kinds of feathers, top left is a paisley feather, top right - I don't know what that feather is called, but it is going around :).  bottom left is a bump-back feather, and bottom right is a swirl feather (easy-peasy and pretty).  

The next month we learned different fills, some pebbles inside the wreath and pumpkin seeds around this wreath.

This wreath has a curved spiral (not too perceptible) and a paisley fill.
The inside border design with the curving feather is from a stencil (another lesson was using stencils...)

A filled grid around the top wreath and a stencil fill around the bottom one.  
The borders were another lesson - designing your own borders.  I demonstrated how to use curved rulers to design a border for the quilt, then played with different fills to accentuate the border.  

Can you see the stitched binding?  We even learned this technique that I learned from Melody Crust when she was in town last year.  I love putting embroidered designs on bindings.  I have done this many times since I learned it (and I got a new/used Viking with lots of pretty designs).  

The last touch is a piece of an old linen (damaged in some places) for the sleeve.  Ooh, I love this quilt!

And do you know what I did?  I donated it to my guild auction.  I figured I could always make another piece for classes, arggghh.  I have decided to bid on it myself - I want it back...  The money will still help the guild, it doesn't matter where it comes from, right?  So if you are going to be at the Alamo Heritage Quilt Guild auction on October 10, and want this quilt, be prepared to pay out the nose for it!

I am linking up with Whoomp There It Is... linky party.  Check it out, there's lots of great Saturday finishers there.  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Greater San Antonio Quilt show

 I am pleased to report that I won a few prized ribbons at the show this weekend.  This one called "The Chemist" won first in the challenge category, where we had to use this piece of blue starry fabric.  This quilt was made from a selfie my daughter, Nicole, took right before she got her degree in Chemistry last spring.  So proud of her.  It even has periodic table fabric for a back.

"Swingin' "  got a second place in the art category.  This is from a photo of my grandson, Alex, taken by my niece, Evelyn.  

"Nebulous" a wholecloth piece won a third in the Other category.

 I'm really pleased with this award.  Linda's round robin quilt took a third in the group category.  I was especially pleased to get the Stationary Machine quilting special award for the quilting I did on this quilt.

Our "Remember..."  quilt, a fractured quilt done by 5 members of my bee won a Judges Choice ribbon and an Honorable Mention in the group category.  I took the photo and enlarged it, sliced it into 6 slices, gave it to 4 other friends, put it together after they finished it, and quilted it.  so I am thrilled with the result and the Judges recognition.  

I finally finished this quilt, just in time for the show.  It is called "Gigi's Garden", that's my grandma name...  This one got a first in small applique.  

And another winner!!, my round robin also got a third place ribbon.  Borders added by members of my quilting bee, and I quilted this.
I'm going to keep going and show you some of the other show stoppers.  

  This is called Flanders Field by Vonnie Maglinte.  She won this award 2 years ago. Check out Vonnie's quilting, she is amazing! 

I loved this vintage linen crazy quilt by Deb France.  She does amazing quilting also.  

And here is Vonnie Maglinte (who made the quilt 2 pics above) with her challenge quilt.  It was a wowzer of a quilt.  

Now for the quilt that won Best of Show.  Made by Judy Wolff of Lincoln, TX and quilted by Angela McCorkle.  Loved it!

Hope you enjoyed the show, can't wait till the next one in two years!  Karen

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Busy busy summer

Excuse me for my month (and a half) long silence.  Been cruising the Rhine, going on quilting retreat and helping my father with surgeries.  Lots of quilting going on also.  I am preparing for our Semi-annual quilt show (is that how you say every other year?)   I am rushing to finish the yellow applique' quilt that I showed you last month - dang I'm slow.  But hey, what's the hurry (quilt show in 2 weeks!) I quilt for enjoyment right?  Here is one I played with at retreat:

 I looked at several examples of graffiti quilting and thought,"I can do that! and in an hour!"
Well, it ended up taking  whole day of my retreat, but oh, what fun it was...  It's about 15 inches square and would look perfect in your sewing room!
I will be donating this to the silent auction at the Quilt show - BTW it is the Greater San Antonio Quilt Guild show, Star Gazing, Sept. 25 and 26, 2015 from 9-5 at the San Antonio Event Center, 8111 Meadow Leaf.  Come out and check out the almost 300 quilts and over 40 vendors. 

Hope to see you there, Karen 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

fillers, fillers, and more fillers

I am delving into all my filler books and lessons to help me fill the outer border of this quilt. I am filling it in with triangles with a different fill design in each one.

 So I am finally putting all of those books and websites to use.  I usually just use the same fill designs over and over - I like bubbles, paisleys, swirls, and grids.  For new ideas, I am inspired by Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project and by the fills in my Craftsy class with Cindy Needham.  I am also looking at designs from the awesome online book I bought from aussie quilter Helen Godden, Fifty Shades of Quilting.  There are so many ideas out there.  And believe it or not, I can actually come up with some myself, see the radiating triangle in blue below? - all mine

 Sue Heinz' book Fill Harmonics has some wonderful ideas (oops, upside down..)

There are tons of ideas in my Machine Quilting Unlimited magazines.

Including this wonderful article by Margaret Solomon Gunn (and yes, I see it is sideways - just call me the wonky blogger)

 I also bought  Bethanne Nemesh's three book set and got more ideas.

Bethanne calls her fill Nemeshing and I love it.  I used it around my applique's for great effect.
And her other book "The Devil is in the Details" is inspiring me to add a beaded border.  I have two of them done already!   These are very labor intensive, hand stitching around each bead to make the fabric pop.  
I used a string of those little white beads, ohhh  I hope they are not too small to notice.  sometimes you just have to take the time to try it and see.  

Where do you go to find new designs?  Try some new ones out every once in a while, it's so fun!  Karen

If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. – Jim Rohn